Continental OnePass Overview

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Continental OnePass (Edit)

This information is historical, as Continental and United merged in 2010; the merged airline is called United Airlines.

Over the years the OnePass frequent flyer program has earned positive news coverage and word-of-mouth from members who love this program. And, despite recent unpopular changes, this program still must be considered a contender. OnePass offers a liberal upgrade policy and popular mileage auctions. Bottomline: this program does some things really well and other things really poorly. But coming from the depths of bankruptcy in the early 1990s, OnePass is certainly scrappy.

Features

The one feature that has the most appeal is the upgrade policy. Continental easily give away more seats in first class than most of the other programs combined. This benefit is getting harder to use as fare structure and other changes creep into the system. Their ShopOnePass program is actually quite rewarding and their award chart features Stopover Awards, which allow you to take a scheduled break in travel on the route between your point of origin and your destination city. Open-jaw travel between cities in the same award series is allowed but is restricted. Also, you can purchase up to 25 percent of the miles you need for an award directly from OnePass in case you are short miles for an award.

Pros

Weekly emails contain some great offers. Even though the award chart is average, when Continental Airlines launches a new route, the program seems to offer a great award deal. Their mileage auction offers some excitement to the program and allows members to redeem miles for something other than "another free ticket."

Cons

First-class tickets are more expensive than other major U.S. programs. The free upgrade concept is great, but with so many Elites traveling, upgrades have become increasingly difficult to obtain. Like most major frequent flyer programs, you have to be very flexible when redeeming award flights to get a free seat.